Former Children of God member details life in the apocalyptic sex cult that lured Hollywood celebs
Flor Edwards believed she used to be going to die at age 12.
The now-36-year-old escaped the doomsday cult Children of God, the similar staff that Hollywood celebrities like Rose McGowan and brothers Joaquin and River Phoenix have been raised in. The cult additionally reportedly lured Fleetwood Mac’s Jeremy Spencer.
The trainer not too long ago revealed a memoir about her turbulent formative years titled “Apocalypse Child: A Life in End Times.”
Edwards published she hasn’t ever met McGowan or the Phoenix brothers. River died on Halloween in 1993 at age 23 from a drug overdose.
“I used to be conscious about River Phoenix,” she mentioned. “We have been instructed about him within the cult, as a caution. Like that is what occurs while you depart, which is in point of fact unhappy.”
Edwards did run into his father in Costa Rica when she began writing her e book.
“I had a scholar who knew him and I instructed him concerning the e book I used to be writing,” defined Edwards. “He mentioned he had attempted, and many of us have attempted, writing their tales, nevertheless it’s an excessively tricky one to inform. He instructed me a tale about how he left a manuscript at a e book writer many, a few years in the past.
“He then checked out me and mentioned, ‘The e book has no longer but been written.’ I believed that used to be an indication to me that I used to be intended to write down the e book.”
Edwards instructed Fox Information that as a kid, loss of life used to be all the time on her thoughts.
“The sector used to be going to finish,” she defined. “It used to be simply one thing I knew all my lifestyles. I don’t take into account listening to about it for the primary time. I simply all the time had a date on my thoughts, 1993. That used to be the 12 months we have been going to die and the rapture used to be going to return. The sector used to be going to finish and for me, that intended I used to be most effective going to are living till 12. In order that’s what we have been taking a look ahead to.
“We have been going to try to save the arena and everybody… I didn’t know what number of people inhabited the arena. However as soon as it used to be time for the arena to finish, we have been going to be martyrs for God. I might lay in mattress at evening occupied with this second of when I used to be going to die at 12.”
The Youngsters of God began in 1968 through a small staff of runaway teenagers and hippies who, beneath the orders of self-described prophet David Berg, devoted their lives to worshipping Jesus Christ and tasty in promiscuous intercourse.
The New York legal professional common’s place of work published on the time kid rape used to be used as an excuse to “building up the tribe,” leading to many pregnancies in more than a few communes.
River Phoenix instructed Details Magazine in 1991 that he used to be four years outdated when he first had intercourse whilst within the staff.
Edwards, whose folks joined the gang ahead of she used to be born, mentioned The Youngsters of God simply lured fans with its message of peace and love.
“It used to be mainly an offspring of the hippie film,” she defined. “It simply began to develop and [Berg] had to keep watch over this motion that used to be now not hippies at the street, dwelling out of caravans. They began to are living in communes.
“However what in point of fact modified used to be when kids came visiting since the adults have been there on their very own unfastened will, however us kids weren’t. So when the gang began to multiply… that’s once they began controlling us. And so they needed to get a hold of alternative ways to self-discipline us.”
Participants have been required to surrender their earthly possessions and give up themselves to God. Former contributors claimed they have been discouraged from running and sending their kids to university and as an alternative, lived with as much as 5 households beneath one roof and waited for the apocalypse.
“You must perceive the gang used to be bring to a halt from society for 20 to 25 years,” mentioned Edwards. “No training, no cash, no process… Even though you sought after to go away, I don’t assume you had the selection or the way to go away… My mom undoubtedly had suspicions, however I feel it used to be very tricky to check out and depart.”
The Youngsters of God additionally preached that those that controlled to go away have been evil and would in the long run rot in hell.
“When you depart, you have been mainly doomed and also you have been most probably going to die even previous,” mentioned Edwards.
Existence grew more and more darkish for Edwards. Berg or “Father David,” lived in isolation and wrote to his fans in rambling letters, claiming they had to get ready for the earth’s destruction. Start keep watch over used to be banned in order that contributors may just produce “end-time squaddies” to steer the battle in opposition to the evil to return.
Edwards mentioned she by no means skilled incest, which used to be reportedly rampant inside the cult, however she used to be conscious about the gang intercourse going down. As a kid, she described feeling like one thing used to be unsuitable.
“I all the time take into account staring at my siblings being disciplined,” she mentioned. “I used to get very disenchanted and simply know this wasn’t proper. Particularly as it wasn’t through my folks. It used to be through people. And I feel while you listen tales concerning the outdoor global, I might have questions. What is that this global? I take into account having moments of feeling very curious.”
Edwards published that guffawing on the “unsuitable” second may just lead to agonizing punishment. She recalled being overwhelmed so badly that each and every strike “despatched me right into a deeper state of delirium” as she begged for it to finish.
In 1993, allegations of sexual abuse involving kids caused regulation enforcement to research. Berg fled to Portugal the place he died in 1994. His widow Karen Zerby, together with her new husband Steve Kelly, took over the gang.
Via age 14, Edwards used to be in a position to go away.
“There wasn’t one explicit second,” she mentioned. “My brother left and he used to be two years older than me. A few of my cousins had left… It turned into an opportunity for the first actual time. While ahead of, it wasn’t in point of fact an possibility.
“As soon as my brother left, I feel that’s what gave me the inducement. After which my sisters and I, all of us talked among ourselves and mentioned we would have liked to visit college. We had a need to get an training and simply be commonplace.”
Via 1996, she and her circle of relatives left the gang.
“I’ve heard not too long ago the cult had lingered,” mentioned Edwards. “However from my revel in, as soon as Father David died, we have been on our personal. However that’s no longer my tale to inform. I don’t know if there are different individuals who had that have, however it appears it saved going.”
Edwards admitted she’s nonetheless studying new information concerning the chief who overtook her formative years.
“He did make a selection to hide himself, and there have been many causes for that,” mentioned Edwards. “[But] he manipulated his fans via those letters, those pictures… The grownup contributors, like my folks, by no means noticed him or met him both. However all of them had this deep recognize for him in line with what he mentioned.
“That’s how he communicated with us. He used to be very, very charismatic. He had an excessively radical trust gadget and the adults purchased into it. They in point of fact believed that concept from the hippie need of making alternate.”